The Fire Pit BBQ & Smokehouse in Wake Forest is an impressive counter-service eatery serving an extensive selection of wood-smoked meats ranging from beef brisket and pulled pork to dry-rubbed ribs and rotisserie chicken—and even house-made sausage and bacon. The restaurant uses hickory, oak and pecan wood to fuel the fire, legitimizing an unadulterated cooking process.
Fork-tender and succulent beef brisket is my standout protein choice, although the St. Louis-style ribs are as flavorful as you’ll find anywhere in this area. Four available squeeze-bottle sauces provide the option for even more zest. My favorite is the house variety, which contains the proper blend of sweetness and spiciness.
What also makes the restaurant stand apart is Chef Andrew Forster’s commitment to churning out quality provisions all the way down to the fresh golden hushpuppies.
First-rate side items like locally sourced collard greens, mac & cheese and potato salad are all worth relishing. For my money, though, the honey-kissed baked beans infused with bacon, pulled pork and brown sugar are worth the price of admission.
Forster, a graduate of the esteemed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, is ably assisted by pit master Roy Poole, an Elizabeth City native who has been at The Fire Pit since before it opened. Then there’s the affable Jill Lazarus, who conjures scratch-made desserts like coconut cream pie, strawberry shortcake and banana pudding, all of which are worthy of blowing your daily calorie allowance.
Owner Ted Patterson has labored in construction for more than 40 years, and he’s designed several local restaurants over that time. His handiwork is evident at The Fire Pit, where exposed duct ceiling and sleek light fixtures coalesce with exquisite hand-crafted woodwork at the spacious bar. If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, it’s well worth the drive.